Oh Deer…

When I was still in high school I had a part-time job working at Lucky (which became Albertson’s and is Sav-Mart now I think) as a bagger. Driving home one night (during a heavy rainstorm) after working the 5-10 pm shift, I came up behind a beat-up old redneck truck crawling along near Collins Lake.

I passed the redneck truck as soon as I could and just as I was pulling back into my lane, my headlights illuminated the eyes of a deer. Fuck. I jumped on the brakes, but with the rain-slicked road being what it was, my braking efforts were relatively ineffective. Unfortunately, the deer elected to not continue crossing the road as it had been, but instead opted to retreat in the direction it had just entered the road from. The deer didn’t even come close to making it. It had turned around and was just starting the trip back when I struck it in a sickening crunch and burst of glass fragments.

Below is where the drama unfolded (the deer entered from the right):


The impact of the collision threw me into a sideways skid, but I was able to recover and maneuver the vehicle to the shoulder.

The redneck truck I had just passed pulled up beside me and a scraggly guy in flannel leaned out the passenger window and drawled, “Ya gonna want that deeir?” It took me a second to process what a “deeir” was and it took me another second to process what was being asked of me.

When I realized the line of his inquiry, I was stunned into an inarticulate state and stammered back, “Um, no, you can have it…”

I got out to inspect my truck which had sustained the following damage (the lights were shattered as well, but were replaced before this picture was taken):


As I was standing by the truck, one of the rednecks walked up to commiserate with me while the other one turned his truck around. “Boy, we’re gonna eat good this month,” he opined before adding, “As long as the sheriff don’t come along.” It is apparently illegal to collect roadkill in California and given the haste with which they loaded the deer up into the truck, I concluded that they had had some negative experience before.

In hindsight, there are a flood of questions I should have asked, but was unfortunately not in the proper frame of mind to do so at the time.

I feel bad about hitting the deer, but I did all I could to avoid doing so. The two rednecks were completely pumped. They were obviously poor and I had just given their family two weeks worth of free food. I’d like to think that by my providing them with the deer, that this prevented them from poaching another deer. Therefore, my killing of the deer saved another one which absolves me from guilt. Right?

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